Monday, July 18, 2011

iBrain Chapter 5 : High Tech Culture

From what I pulled out, this chapter is Dr. Small and Gigi Vorgan describing in detail how technology is either destroying families and the next generation or setting the world for a global economic meltdown. That was, at least to me, the meat of this chapter. Dr. Small does list some interesting tables on the most popular websites and search queries from 2007. I really had a chuckle seeing Facebook FAR behind MySpace, however given the year this is totally correct. Facebook wasn't allowing users without a college email address to create profiles. I did a little bit of research, and I stress little (like 2 minutes) finding the list for 2010 and another minute or so to find a side-by-side for 2009 and 2010. So behold....the top ten websites of 2009 versus 2010!

What I first take away from this list and the list given by Dr. Small is the rise and fall of a social media site. Forward this list three to four years in the future and there may be another social media site (think Google+ ?) rising from the ashes of Facebook...hmm.

I do like how Dr. Small has set up the foundations of the electronic marketplace and how it is changing the way we do business. More often than not, I buy things online simply for the ease of not having to  be faced with the "oh we're sold out" when I get to the store. One example that really hit home is the roll of film versus digital prints. Erin just went through almost a year of photos on our computer to create a folder to send to Wal-Mart to print for an album. We do this from time to time so we can still have them when the inevitable hard drive failure occurs and we potentially lose the files. If we had had Maddy even 10 years ago we would have spent much more time and money developing an entire roll of film that may have been blurry, or had a finger over the lens. Now we can simply delete the bad ones or leave them in the digital realm.

I don't really agree with the fractured family story on pages 93 and 94. It sounds to me that the family never had a set dinner routine, but now we can blame technology for it. Throughout this book so far Dr. Small has given us examples of things that weren't working to begin with, and now we can throw technology to the wolves because that has to be what's making this not work! The family on pages 93 and 94 needed to have dinner time and routine set long before this story happened. Time limits for technology and/or a set time when the technology can be accessed. I've seen many, well not many because I'm only at the beginning of year five of teaching, but enough students who have parents that have a handle on technology and have rules in place for family time. On the other hand I've seen some kids that rule the roost and have nothing to do with family time because to be very frank, family time doesn't exist for them.


  1. I really agree with you about blaming technology for problems that would be there with or without it. Most people are always looking for someone or in this case, something else to blame rather than face their own possible shortcomings. Technology is just the one that's popular right now.

    The most interesting thing that I pulled out of this chapter was the comparison between what women used the internet for and what men used it for. It's pretty much men using it as a more bells and whistles newspaper, and women using it for self-help. It's not true for me, but maybe for others.

  2. I actually have more contact with family members through facebook. My teenage niece and nephews would NEVER include me into their confidences like they do on Facebook.
    With the change in list for social media sites I believe you are getting the "creepy treehouse" effect. Where the kids are there until adults arrive so they leave. Myspace lead to Facebook which leads to twitter to my yearbook to tumble on and on.
    Also interesting the Netflix is using 20% of bandwidth for the internet now.... just saying.
    I think that is a simplistic male/female explanation and how the internet is used changes constantly

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  4. Alright, was anybody else a wee bit confused about which post to comment on?? I had to ask Mike if it was his week! Haha!

    Alrightie, here's my first Official Sociology Textbook Contribution. There is a fantastic book called The Way We Never Were: American Families And The Nostalgia Trap, by Stephanie Coontz. The photo on the front is of a very Leave It to Beaver type of family, but the book itself is about the 1950s, and how the picture perfect American ideal has never existed in this country as anything even resembling a norm. It's the first thing that popped into my head when I read about the family on 93-94. June, here called Tricia, busies herself roasting a turkey (for no particular reason) while faithfully ignoring her technology. Surprise, surprise! She's the only one who seems to "get something" out of her family dinner. Ward and the kids are all so obsessed with their email and video games that they tuck in in about three minutes, and Ward doesn't even show up until after everyone is gone. The message here: TECHNOLOGY IS RUINING OUR FAMILIES! EVERYONE RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!! (I think the negative bias in this book is beginning to get to me.)

    On a more positive note, I really think the blogging explosion referenced on page 101 is a good thing! The authors only just barely paint it in a negative light, and they do mention a few of the ways it's being used by corporations and consumers alike. I was a little surprised and saddened to see that they didn't mention any educational uses whatsoever, but I think maybe that's just the book being a little dated.

  5. Yeah Erin was signed in as me on her initial comment...